• December 29, 2021 8:35 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    December is biggest month of giving and receiving.  Often when we think of giving and receiving we imagine contributing our favorite dish at a family gathering or a colorfully wrapped present from a loved one.  But giving and receiving encompass more than just physical things like food and gifts.  We are constantly giving and receiving from the people and the world around us.  Every day we are letting in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the emotions and thoughts of those around us.  In reverse we are breathing out carbon dioxide, eliminating food wastes, and sending out positive or negative energy though our own emotions and thoughts.

    Most people have seen the Chinese black and white Tai Ji symbol which represents the interplay of yin and yang - opposing forces that interconnect and balance each other.  In the image the black represents yin/receiving, and the white represents yang/giving.  There is a black dot in the whitest area and a white dot in the blackest area. The colors flow into each other and never completely separate from each other.  This dynamic flow is said to be present everywhere in the universe, including the world around us and within ourselves.

    One instance in nature where this cycle can be seen is in the continual flow of seasons from winter (yin) to summer (yang) to winter (yin) again. In our bodies the cycle of sleeping (yin) to awakening (yang) then back to sleeping (yin) is an example of how this balance is integral to our well being.  We all know how tired and worn out we feel if something throws us out of balance and we don’t get enough sleep.

    This cycle can be seen in numerous other parts of our lives, including in the case of giving and receiving. Like in the example above, to maintain optimal health, we must also maintain a balance of giving and receiving in our lives.  Do you often feel drained this time of year? The winter season is an important  time of year to nourish our energy reserves.  Yet often this is one of the busiest times of year.  We can feel we are giving too much of our time and energy without recharging with quiet and contemplation. If you are feeling this way, it’s important to reflect on areas where your life is out of balance. Then you can figure out what you can give or receive to create harmony.

    A nice exercise this time of year is to go through your closets and pull out things you no longer wear.  Sort through your children’s toys and get rid of the ones they don’t use anymore.  Often creating physical space can help your brain feel less cluttered as well and can give you more emotional and mental bandwidth.  

    Take some time to reflect on the ideas you hold about yourself.  Ask if yourself if this still applies to your present day life.  Be honest with yourself.  We often get stuck in past patterns of belief that no longer are serving us and are outdated.

    Re-evaluate your relationships.  Are you holding on to acquaintances or friends that feel draining to you? Is there anyone you need to release from your life to make room for something else? Are you involved in a group or activity that doesn’t feel like it’s adding to your life anymore?  Spend time with people and activities that nourish you.  Invite some friends over to just to laugh and have fun. Join a group and do what makes you feel energized.  Surround yourself with positive energy as much as possible to build up your inner resources.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  If someone offers to give you a hand accept it. If you try to do everything yourself, you can get overwhelmed, feel frustrated, depressed, and/or anxious.  Take time for yourself to recharge.  Take a luxurious bath.  Walk in nature. Have some quiet time to meditate and reflect.  By recharging your battery you will have more to give to others.

    By learning to give and receive in harmony you will be able to live more deeply and have balance on all levels.  It may seem hard at first, but with practice it will become as easier. Bringing awareness is the first step. Soon you will find yourself feeling relaxed and at ease more frequently.

    Acupuncture Alexandria offers acupuncture and herbal medicine, specializing in women's health, pain management, emotional health, and preventative medicine. Learn more at  acupuncturealexandria.com

  • December 23, 2021 10:14 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    The winter months have their challenges.  The days are short and dark.  For most of us in the Western hemisphere it's winter and it's cold. While it's great to hunker down in front of a fire, with a good book and a glass of wine, our bodies still need movement. 

    Movement is crucial to keeping our bodies and minds healthy. Movement supports the strength of our heart, muscles, bones and joints. It boosts our mood because endorphins and dopamine are released.  Every part of our being benefits from movement.

    Last winter at Chrysalis Chiropractic we started a Move More 28 Day Challenge. It began as a way to keep ourselves accountable for getting outside and keeping track of our miles walking and biking. The result? My husband ended up signing up for the Triple Bypass in Colorado - a 120 mile bike ride with over 10,000 feet of elevation!  Originally this was not his goal and your goal doesn't have to be so extreme either. My goal was to walk outside every day for 2-5 miles.  I found I loved being outside, in the fresh air, on my own listening to health and wellness podcasts.

    This winter I challenge you to set an easy goal for moving your body.  Track it in a notebook, Fit Bit, post it each day as a journal entry on social media or any other app that keeps track of miles. Use whatever works and makes it easy for you to do.

    Want a paper log? Click to receive your FREE 28 Day Challenge Log (PDF)If you choose to journal on social media, post photos of you before, after or during your workout or post a photo of your miles. Tag us on Instagram @chrysalischiropractic or Facebook @chrysalischiropracticofalexandria and use the #movemore!

    Now let's bring it on and keep moving in the new year!

     At Chrysalis Chiropractic, patients have the opportunity to choose chiropractic or nutrition (or both!) to help restore and maintain health using natural solutions.  Learn more at chrysalischiropractic.com 

  • December 07, 2021 10:56 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    How often do we consider the power of receptivity and positive thinking as curative  tools? How can we use receptivity and positive thinking as instruments for self healing?  

    The task of writing about receptivity is particularly timely for me because I recently  participated in several sacred medicinal sweat lodge ceremonies with the Shamans at  www.ancestralknowledge.co. Receiving the medicine and allowing it to work in the  way it was intended in order to heal is at the forefront of all these ceremonies.  Receiving the medicine and surrendering to its wisdom is a spiritual process meant to  humble us, shift our consciousness, allow us to forgive, encourage us to let go of  negativity and come back to our heart, returning us to love.  

    What is the Altar of the Medicine Sweat Lodge?  

    Shamans teach us to receive all the gifts life offers us - the joys and the sorrows - the  important lessons life offers us even in the darkest of times. I’ve had the honor of  participating in many indigenous sacred ceremonies over the last fifteen years. These  ceremonies have become the most important part of my inner work and healing.  Each time is different. When I am open to receive whatever the medicine brings to me and when I trust that I’ll receive exactly what I need, I always receive incredible  insights, growth and wisdom.  

    Receiving the Gift In Times of Trial  

    This year I was asked to be a contributing author to a book called Sacred Death by Hemali Vora. In my chapter, I explain how even in one most difficult times of my life  there was a great gift for me to receive.  

    "…As I walked away from my aunt in the physical for the last  time, I felt complete. My life would never be the same, and  certainly not for my cousins. But she died as she lived, with those around her she loved the most and who loved her most. She wouldn't have had it any other way. I was present to how grateful I was to have experienced a mother’s true,  endearing and unconditional love. Her boundless generosity  of self and limitless love still astounds me to this day, so many  years later.” 
     Melissa McGlone, Sacred Death Chapter 20 

    Receptivity = Positive Emotions = Greater Happiness = Better Health 

    Twenty-three years ago, when I was diagnosed with the “worst case of endometriosis  the doctor had ever seen,” receptivity and positive thinking both became a significant  part of my own spiritual journey. The doctors were convinced I’d never have children  and they proposed a hysterectomy.  

    I made the hard decision to break from convention and try a more holistic approach  with the hope that I could heal and conceive. Part of that approach was healing on an  emotional level from deep-rooted traumas which had contributed to dis-ease in my  body. I also would need to cleanse and purify my body using the Ann Wigmore  Living Foods Lifestyle.  

    As part of my ninety-day healing journey I made a visualization board which became a  powerful and transformative outlet. I explain this in my soon to be published book  about practical ways to approach healing, wellness and self-care: 

    …”I would add to my board the wonderful  cards and letters family and friends wrote to me over that summer for inspiration. Paul, the  father of my future children, had given me a  gorgeous picture of a little girl with curly brown ringlets and the biggest, most beautiful blue eyes you’d ever seen, decked out in Christmas finery. I think it was an ad for a diamond jewelry company as she was holding a string of jewels. It was a  representation of “our little girl.” Come to find out indeed that little girl would manifest, with beautiful brown eyes and ringlets of spun golden brown hair.” 
    -- Melissa McGlone, Drinking Blueberries, Chapter 9 

    I used the power of positive thinking to empower myself by truly believing that I  could get pregnant and to open myself to receive the gift of pregnancy. I began  buying baby clothes from The Purple Goose in Del Ray, Alexandria, VA even while  doctors were insisting that I was infertile. I imagined my life as a pregnant mama as if  it had already happened.  

    Whatever the magic formula was (there were many ingredients), I’m convinced  receptivity and positive thinking greatly contributed to me having two children in the  end. Here are my kids, the ones the doctors said would never be, all grown up and off  to college this year.

    Melissa McGlone grew up in Alexandria, Virginia and she and her children still call  Virginia home. After a debilitating bout with endometriosis, her personal healing  journey inspired her to share her success to motherhood by training in the healing art  of colon hydrotherapy. It has become her life’s work to help others heal, and finds it  an honor to assist people with a wide variety of ailments as they journey on their  health path. Sharing her story by writing about it became a mission to align with not  only women as they embark on motherhood, but to help others with whatever health  challenges they face. She has been practicing colon hydrotherapy for 20 years,  primarily at www.vitalbodymind.com. Recently she has added fertility coaching  formally to her consulting services at www.goddessmotherhealing.com, with a detox  product in the works to be out by year’s end.  

  • December 01, 2021 10:39 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

        The link between oral health and mental health is hard to ignore. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that almost two-thirds of people with depression reported having a toothache in the last year. It also indicated that half of all people with depression rated their teeth condition as fair or poor. A scientific review of related studies found a strong link between periodontal (gum) disease and mood conditions like stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness.

        The most obvious explanation for the link comes from the behavioral effects of stress, depression and anxiety. People with these conditions sometimes lose focus on oral health habits, which can lead to significant dental issues. Depression, for example, can cause people to brush and floss at irregular intervals, skip dentist visits, have unhealthy diets and self-medicate with smoking.

        Biologically, depression and anxiety cause several factors that impact oral health. The stress they create manifests itself in the body as a hormone called cortisol. As cortisol levels increase, the immune system gets weaker. This can leave you vulnerable to mouth conditions like gum inflammation (gingivitis) and gum disease (periodontitis). In addition, medications prescribed for depression and anxiety can cause dry mouth. This lack of saliva can mean that food debris, plaque and bacteria aren’t getting rinsed from teeth easily, which can make it more likely for cavities to form.

        Anxiety, in particular, tends to be associated with several oral health issues. If you have anxiety, you're more susceptible to canker sores, dry mouth and teeth grinding (bruxism). As with depression, these issues may be attributed to a lack of oral care or as side effects of anxiety medication.

        Luckily, when depression or anxiety take a toll on oral health, there are ways to fight back. The simplest step you can take to maintain your oral health is to brush twice a day and floss daily. Keeping up these basic oral health habits goes a long way to keeping your mouth in tip-top shape. 

        To schedule a dental appointment, visit https://dentalexcellenceva.com/ today!

    Dental Excellence is proud to offer advanced, custom smile design techniques, expert and caring advice, and preventive care plans with a whole health and naturalistic approach.  Dental Excellence utilizes state-of-the-art equipment, provides the latest in dental procedures and upholds the strictest sterilization techniques. Their mission is to educate patients about all possible oral healthcare options and to help them when choosing a treatment plan that is most suitable for them.   Learn more at dentalexcellenceva.com

  • November 24, 2021 8:26 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    Clients often ask me how they can add more joy and health into their personal lives when everything around them seems fragile and uncertain. In order to feel joy, you have to be open to it. Joy is only possible when we are fully present with a grateful perspective. In fact, numerous studies show that the practice of gratitude can give us an instant mood boost.

    Alternatively, if you are focusing on what is lacking, it’s hard to appreciate the gifts of daily life. We often get caught up ruminating on what we don’t have instead of savoring our present blessings.  What you focus on grows, so I advise my clients to zero in on things that nourish their souls, inspire them and lead them to a perspective of gratitude.

    In my gratitude seminars, a question I often ask the audience is: “What can you do today that is both joyful and healthy for your life?” Clients often report things like spending more quality time with their kids, or calling a friend they feel safe with and not judged.  These experiences brings them a great sense of joy and gratitude. In addition, spending more time in nature or going for a long walk with their pet also can shift their perspective towards the positive. 

    I invite you today to consider what you can do to add more joy and health to your daily life. The answer can be really simple and doable.

    A simple way to foster more gratitude is to be on the lookout for great things that come your way throughout your day no matter how small the gesture. Write down at least three positive things that occurred in your day in a gratitude journal. Studies show that if you keep a daily gratitude journal for at least a week you are likely to experience a mood boost for up to a month. In addition, if you continue this practice for a month or more, the positive effects of a gratitude journal may continue to be seen for up to six months after. According to researchers, the positive mood boost appears to compound.

    In my practice, clients often know what they need to do, but feel overwhelmed wondering how to make big changes that are necessary to improve their life and health. Small steps can make a profound difference. It is through self-awareness that you can start to improve your enjoyment of life. Starting a gratitude journal and practicing reflective journaling can help you come into awareness about the positive things that happen to you throughout your day. Furthermore, if you are struggling to digest difficult feelings, the act of writing the events on paper can help you synthesize the information and get it out of your system.

    Tips to keeping a Gratitude Journal:

    1. Keep it simple – if this is your first-time journaling, all you need is a pen and a notebook to keep all of your thoughts in one place. If you are feeling ambitious, you can buy a journal or notebook.
    2. Write the date, the time, and location – adding the date, time and location often adds context to your thoughts. Reflective journaling is a safe place where you can record your life in a progressive time span, and then look back at each chapter and reflect.
    3. Writing down your gratitude doesn’t have to be fussy – journaling your gratitude can be simply jotting down three bullet points that happened to you today. It can start with something as seemingly small as “I am grateful that the barista at Starbucks smiled at me and gave me the perfect cup of coffee.”
    4. The 4 R’s of reflective journaling – Reflective journaling is a sacred space to record your thoughts. It is also an opportunity for you to relax, release, reflect and renew. Reflective journaling can help you recharge from stressors with a grateful attitude towards life.

    In this Thanksgiving month, when you convene with your families and friends to share your thanks for life and each other, one soothing ritual you may want to incorporate into your daily routine is quiet time to reflect on the blessings of the day. By writing down three things that lifted your spirits and gave you hope, you foster a perspective of savoring the present moment.  

    Being open to joy and taking the time to appreciate the tiny miracles that happen throughout your day, you can not only boost your mood, but lower your stress levels. Effective stress management can helps reduce inflammation in your body and actually protects against chronic disease. The opposite of disease is ease. By building on your gratitude, you are also strengthening your emotional and physical resilience. 

    Whether you find yourself appreciating the scent of a magnolia tree or the sun setting over a river, being able to fully drink in the present moment and record these blessings daily, sets your world lens to one of wonder and awe. When in doubt, write it out. You won’t regret it. 

    For More Inspirational Tips and Information

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    Contact me: www.maihealthnow.com

    Mai Health Now is committed to teaching people how to focus on their health first so they can be happier, healthier, and more productive. To book a program, presentation or personal session, or to learn more go to http://www.maihealthnow.com

    Use promo code MaiHealth10 for 10 % off health counseling packages!

    Mai Health Now is committed to teaching people how to focus on their health so they can be happier, healthier, and more productive.  Learn more at maihealthnow.com

  • November 24, 2021 8:16 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    In this month of November we are surrounded with reminders of thankfulness and gratitude for what we have. The art of being grateful is a tricky one sometimes, especially in a time in our lives where things have been turned upside down and sideways for many reasons. Everyone’s life looks different from what it once was and yet finding the small, simple things to be grateful for is now more important than ever. Finding more balance and comfort within ourselves will allow us to appreciate others and have gratitude for our journey.  

    What does this have to do with thankfulness and gratitude? Being more connected within allows us to show ourselves gratitude in mind, body and spirit. When you practice creating inner balance, you can go into the community and support your partner, family, friends, and neighbors in amazing ways.

    There are so many ways to show our gratitude to others who support and love us. Many of the simplest things we do from the heart are the most impactful.

    Here are some examples:

    • Writing a note and expressing our emotions to loved ones who have been there for us is a great and simple way to show our gratitude. 
    • Surprising someone with a recipe they love or bringing them flowers just because. 
    • Taking the time to clean up or organize an area of your home that needs a little TLC.    
    • Slowing down and trying something new to recharge your batteries, like feeling gratitude for movement and your breath.
    • Slowing down and singing a song or dancing with your kids. Maybe taking a walk in the crunchy autumn leaves with your canines.

    These five examples of simple things you can do to show gratitude for your loved ones also serves to create balance in the 5 elements: heart, spleen, lung, kidneys, and liver. Just being your beautiful self and showing up and spending time together is a great way to show your gratitude. 

    By doing these types of practices for others, you also create more joy within yourself too. This is how you begin to cultivate a grateful life. By expressing and doing for others without being asked is a way to reduce the stress of the day within your body. Giving of yourself is in essence being grateful for what you have been given and sharing it with your community.

    Acupuncture in Del Ray provides holistic care for the whole family. They offer acupuncture & traditional Chinese medicine to people of all ages, customizing treatments to address not only symptoms that are occurring but true root of the problem.  Learn more at  acupunctureindelray.com 

  • November 24, 2021 8:04 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    I could write a blog post about why gratitude is good for us, but given some recent challenges in my life I thought it would be more interesting (and more honest) to write about why gratitude is sometimes hard. 

    There’s mounting research demonstrating that gratitude will help us to be healthier (1), happier (2), and experience less pain (3).   But reading about why we should be grateful doesn’t necessarily contribute to a felt-sense of gratitude.

    It’s easy to be grateful when things are going our way.  When those we love are well, when we feel strong and healthy, when we take a walk on a lovely day or see a beautiful sunset. It’s a natural and universal reflex to feel and express gratitude.  

    The experience of gratitude comes easily with other positive emotions.  It’s natural to experience gratitude and peace, gratitude and laughter, gratitude and warmth, gratitude and love.  With joy comes gratitude, and the converse also seems to be true.  

    What happens when things are falling apart, as they do for all of us sometimes?  Is it possible to feel gratitude and fear, gratitude and anger, gratitude and sadness, gratitude and envy, gratitude and frustration?  Isn’t that the point? To be able to soften negative emotions by calling upon our feelings of gratitude?

    Nearly all wisdom traditions, spiritual teachings, mindfulness training and modern psychology emphasize the value of feeling and expressing gratitude. I understand that in cultivating a sincere feeling of gratitude, peace of mind will follow.  But it’s not always easy to evoke gratitude at will, especially if you are going through a hard time.  

    I have had an unstructured gratitude practice over the years. Not consistent and not always successful.  As I have struggled accessing gratitude while experiencing negative emotions, I remind myself that offering thanks, gratitude or kindness to another person can produce nearly the same results.  It feels good to do something kind for someone else.  It soothes the recipient and has the lovely side effect of offering comfort to me as well.

    When I am struggling or someone I care for is suffering, I often call upon the old standby cliche that “it could always be worse.” This evokes a sense of pseudo-gratitude, which is better than no gratitude at all I suppose.  What works even better is first to remember that nothing lasts forever, and then to seek to offer kindness. It doesn’t even need to be directed at someone involved in a hard situation, it could be a completely unrelated act of thanks.  It will most certainly make you feel better.  Then gratitude becomes much easier to find.

    Brother David Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine Monk, PhD and author who is well known for building bridges between religious traditions.  His words beautifully summarize how gratitude can inform our lives.

    “It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it is gratefulness that makes us happy. Every moment is a gift.”

    1.  https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Femo0000472

    2.  https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

    3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2019.1627397

     The Healing Tree is dedicated to providing the best in chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture in a professional healing environment. They approach every client/patient with respect, compassion and integrity and make every effort to listen to, and treat the person and not simply the condition, ache or pain. Learn more at  www.healingtr.com 

  • November 17, 2021 8:44 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    Did you know November is National Gratitude month? It makes sense right? Thanksgiving dinner for many of us is a tradition of friends and family gathering around the table sharing what we are thankful for.  In November we hear more about gratitude in general.  It's everywhere. We see the word "grateful"  in every home decor section, on fireplace mantles, blog posts, social media, commercials, magazines, schools, work places, and more.  But what does it mean to have gratitude?

    According to 2003 research by Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons gratitude is a practice of appreciating something positive in our lives that comes from somewhere other than ourselves.  Research shows that this simple practice is powerful.  So we should not wait for the month of November to start.

    Research also shows that offering gratitude on a daily basis benefits people in three primary ways: physical, emotional and social.  Some of the benefits include improved blood pressure and immune function, improved quality of sleep, improved mood, decreased stress levels, improved optimism, more joy and less loneliness, and more compassion towards others. 

    Practicing gratitude helps us to change our perspective on our current situation (especially if we are focused on negatives and stressors) to a more positive outlook and recognize how we are already being supported.  Below are two easy ways to practice gratitude. 

    1. GRATITUDE JOURNAL:  A daily gratitude journal can help rewire our brains towards positivity and highlight what is working in our lives versus what is not working.  This practice helps ground us each day and reminds us of our blessings, the simple things we take for granted, and allows us to express appreciation for them. It can be as simple as saying "I'm grateful for the roof over my head," or "I'm grateful to be born in the USA," or " I'm grateful for the kind cashier at the store today."   

    2. Create "A GET TO DO LIST" or "A GRATEFUL LIST." Gratefulness and gratitude are a bit different.  Being grateful is recognizing the opportunity in the moment, instead of practicing gratitude at a later moment. Being grateful is saying "I get to" instead of "I have to."  This can work even if you are grumpy about having to do something.  This may sound counter intuitive, but begin by taking a few deep breaths to ground, focus and calm yourself.  Then try saying " I get to" instead of "I have to."  For example, imagine you are upset because you are required to attend to a meeting you do not have time for.  Instead of saying "I have to go to another useless meeting today,"  try saying "I get to go to a meeting and connect with others and learn something new."  Or instead of saying "I have to wash all these clothes this week," try saying "I get to wash my clothes each week in a first world, modern day washing machine. I am so lucky."  Or how about instead of "I have to drive my child to school everyday," try saying "I get to drive my child to school everyday and have the opportunity to bond with him/her. I get to spend this quality time with my child every morning." 

    Simply reframing a situation and shifting the wording can help change what may first seem like an inconvenience to something beneficial that brings you or someone else joy.  When doing these daily practices try to be as specific as you can with your wording. Soon practicing gratitude will be easy and part of your everyday, not just a Thanksgiving day ritual.

    Tranquil Healthcare is giving back during the month of November as a way to show gratitude to the Del Ray community.  10% of all sales this month will be donated to a Del Ray local non-profit food bank. 

    If you would like to help give back, schedule an appointment now for one of our many services: mental health, wellness, and anti-aging.  See services listed below.

    Anti Aging Services: Botox anti-wrinkle injections, filler, IV vitamins, detox infusions, immune support, microneedling, PRP therapies for hair loss, facials and more.

    Mental Health Services: coaching and counseling

    Wellness: food sensitivity and heavy metal testing, mold toxicity testing, environmental toxicity testing and more.

    Book at www.tranquilhealthcare.com

    Tranquil Healthcare: an Integrative Mental Health & Wellness practice focusing on anxiety and depression disorders as well as improving over all health and wellness. Tranquil Healthcare is the only board certified female run solo Nurse Practitioner practice in the heart of DC focusing on mental health and wellness.  Learn more at tranquilhealthcare.com

  • November 10, 2021 7:24 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    The Thanksgiving season is upon us.  At this time of year, it's customary to consider what we're thankful for and share this with others just before partaking in a marvelous meal.  For most of us, this is a worthwhile exercise that provides us an opportunity to mindfully notice the good in our lives.  We may experience a mental and emotional shift, a boost of mood and energy that stays with us until we get caught up again in the challenges of life.  I'd like to offer some information with the hope of encouraging and empowering you so that you can have this uplifting experience beyond Thanksgiving Day.  This starts with understanding the power of embracing gratitude.  

    Did you know that although used interchangeably, there is actually a difference between thankfulness and gratitude?  Thankfulness refers to an expression or feeling of appreciation for something received or done.  For example, I might be thankful that my co-worker helped me complete a project or that the barista at my favorite coffee shop threw in an extra shot of espresso at no extra charge.  In response, I might say, “thank you” to let the other person know I noticed and appreciated what they did.  Being thankful is often prompted by something done externally for us by someone else.  Gratitude does not require a precipitating event to be done by someone else.  Gratitude is an internal experience, initiated within us.  It's intentionally noticing what we already have and what is good in our lives, regardless of what is done by others and what we do not have.  

    Sounds good right?  Maybe to some of you.  Others might be thinking, “you don’t understand my life.  Being grateful is really hard right now. Don’t you see all that is going on in the world?”  To all of you I say, “I get it.”  When we are in the middle of something really hard, or sometimes multiple experiences that are really hard, it can be difficult to practice gratitude.  However, I would offer that it is in those times that it's all the more important to practice this intention.  Why?  Because our brains tend to focus on what elicits the most intense emotion or feeling at the time.  Setting an intention of gratitude helps us to train and focus our brains to mindfully notice what is good even when everything is not good, which allows us to have a more complete experience.  Embracing gratitude doesn't mean denying the difficult or painful experiences you've had.  It doesn't mean ignoring things happening in the world that aren't good.  It means that you can make room to recognize and include what is good, even in the midst of difficulty and pain.  

    Practicing gratitude is an intentional practice that can help to elicit a positive mindset and feelings, which can boost mood and energy.  While this practice may be challenging at times, intentionally embracing gratitude regularly is sure to have positive effects that can be seen throughout every area of our lives.  Starting this practice may seem overwhelming, but remember that every great work starts with one small step.  Here are some steps you can take to integrate gratitude practices into your life:

    1. Keep a gratitude journal (written, audio or video).  Journaling is a well-known mindfulness practice.  A gratitude journal is a key investment into your gratitude bank.  Not only will it help you identify positive and good in your life in the present moment, but you can also go back and read, listen to or watch past entries in difficult times to spark inspiration.

    2. Notice and express appreciation for yourself.  We often spend energy focusing on what we didn't do and don't have.  Take some time to notice and express appreciation for you, just as you are.  For example, thank yourself for working out, whether it was for 15 minutes or 30.  Notice that you're great at your job.  Appreciate your good work as a parent.  

    3. Express gratitude to or for someone else.  Noticing and expressing appreciation for yourself can often spark a chain reaction and inspiration to start doing the same in your relationships with others.  Tell your partner that you appreciate them and you're glad they are in your life.  Let your colleague know you admire their work. Tell your child you're proud of them.  If you're struggling with this, try identifying how you would want others to express gratitude to you.  What would you want them to notice, say, or do?  Then, do that for them.

    Healthy Minds Therapy thrives on evidence-based psychotherapy interventions to promote the success of clients. We specialize in psychotherapy with individuals (children, adolescents, adults) and couples with presenting issues – including those with depression, anxiety, behavioral concerns and/or difficulties relating to challenging life events. Learn more at  healthyminds-therapy.com 

  • November 03, 2021 11:42 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    I must confess I had to extend my deadline for this post submission a week because I decided to rewrite my original blog.  I told Dr. Lola Capps that it was too heavy.  She laughed and said “that makes me want to read more.”  Thanks to Lola, please be aware that this is somewhat heavy.  May you find the space to digest it slowly.

    In general, I would rate myself pretty high on the gratitude scale (if there is such a thing). LOL.

    Growing up in a poor and tumultuous home, it was easy for me to find gratitude in simple things like a roof over my head, a warm bed at night, and a well-fed tummy.  These days I have gratitude fro my well-coordinated hands and fingers that serve my craft as a dentist and the opportunity to create a peaceful space for my team and my patients.

    In the past couple years, I've learned another layer of gratitude.  I'm not only grateful while going through suffering but also grateful for my suffering.  I felt like I was on a roller coaster physically, financially and mentally while going through a difficult divorce.  I was not only dealing with my own suffering by breaking away from twenty-two years of marriage, gut also witnessing to boys' pain.  The only thing I could do was learn to sit with them in their pain.  It was hard to watch them lose their innocence so early.  It was hard to feel like I'd failed my boys and ruined the ideal perfect family image.  It was hard juggling single parenting with my kids' activities, child care in the virtual schooling world, managing my small business, and being there for my team members and my patients.  

    Yet, in the midst of that chaotic, messy and painful time, I finally understood and acknowledged my pain.  I refused to paint a perfect rainbow without rain.  I refused to put a bandage over the wound that never heals if proper cleansing doesn’t take place.  I told my patients all the time that putting a filling over a cavity without cleaning it properly leads to a root canal or worse, losing a tooth.  As a human being who is motivated by pain, I embraced my pain, and found the courage to walk in the rain.  

    In the rain, I finally looked around and saw that there were others on the journey too.  Some were walking right beside me, extending their umbrellas.  Sometimes I extended my umbrella when my arms were not too tired to hold it.  Sometimes my fellow sojourners and I witnessed a beautiful rainbow in the sky.  Sometimes, the rain kept coming hard for days and my only choice was to accept being wet and perhaps even dance in the rain.

    It is in the rain that I confidently know that I'm God’s beloved.

    As much as I still resist suffering, I'm grateful for the lessons of resilience, courage, vulnerability, humility, and the quiet depth of compassion for self and others.  

    My Del Ray friends, I see you and I see your sufferings too.  May we continue to meet each other in the space of  kindness and acceptance.  I am not perfect.  We are not perfect.  But I am good and you are good too!

    I leave you with these beautiful messages from my faith:

    “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."

    “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what's most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."

    “You’re blessed when you’re content with who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourself a proud owner of everything that can’t be bought."

    "You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat."

    “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full’ you find yourself cared for."

    “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world."

    “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are and your place in God’s family."

    “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom."

    The Del Ray Smiles family are grateful for each and everyone of you!

    Namaste from the depth of my heart,

    Julie Tran

     At Del Ray Smiles, your smile is our top priority. The entire team is dedicated to providing you with the personalized, gentle care that you deserve to restore and enhance the natural beauty of your smile using conservative, state-of-the-art procedures that result in beautiful, long-lasting smiles.  Learn more at  4delraysmiles.com.

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